Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Quintessential Fall Cookie

cookies, originally uploaded by emily loke.

Cheerfully hued and joyfully rotund, pumpkins are hard to hate. It may be the fact that they are so often endowed with faces that I attribute certain human characteristics to them, but the sight of them lined up in store windows always makes me think of them as caricatured individuals in a rather comical family. There’s the mother – round and upturned with humour, the father – dapperly wearing his stem like a shrunken top hat, the baby – squat and lumpy, the daughter – looking as though she’s sucking in her tummy…Well, you get the picture.

After that analogy, it seems like such a shame to admit the use of canned pumpkins in my baking, but short on time and long on impatience, it’s usually my only feasible option. Forced to use the first half of the can for a good-but-predictable pumpkin pie, I was determined to redeem myself with the second half and put it to good (slightly-more-creative) use: Pumpkin Spice Cookies! My obsession with these cookies is hard to explain. They’re soft, and I hate soft cookies. They’re iced, I think iced cookies are too sweet. They’re rustic (read: ugly) looking, and I’m really anal about presentation. So firmly do they go against my ideals of what a good cookie should be that it usually takes a lot of coaxing on A.’s part to get me to even consider making them – even though it’s no secret that when they’re done, I can mow through a plate of them without help.

With the help of my trusty KitchenAid mixer and my good friend D., the cookies were made so efficiently that only the rate at which the first batch disappeared could possibly have been faster. Squishy and heaped with haphazard dollops of saccharine icing, I still have no idea why I love these cookies – I just do. Sort of sounds like my attitude towards my roadkill fur coat from Kensington, actually…but I think I’ll save that story. A girl’s got to have some secrets!

Love-Hate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups flower 

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda 

1 1/4 tsp salt 

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1 1/4 tsp ginger 

3/4 tsp nutmeg 

1 ½ sticks butter softened 

2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar 

2 large eggs 

1 1/2 cups pumpkin mush
3/4 cup evaporated milk 

1 Tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Cream butter and brown sugar
2. Mix in all wet ingredients, blend till smooth (don’t worry if it looks like it’s separating).
3. Mix in all dry ingredients, blend till smooth.
4. Cram batter into a piping bag and pipe 1 ½ inch cookies about an inch apart on a lined baking sheet.
5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes. When done, cookies should feel springy when pressed.

Icing ingredients

4 Cups Confectioners Sugar
10 Tbs butter 

5 Tbs Evaporated Milk 

2 Tsp Vanilla

1. Stick butter into a saucepan and cook till brown.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, pour melted butter over icing sugar. Scrape burnt bits into the bowl.
3. Add milk and vanilla and blend till smooth
4. Slap on top of cooled cookies.